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Pictures | Tue Apr 30, 2019 | 1:10am BST

Emperor Akihito through the years

Japan's Crown Prince Akihito is formally invested as crown prince during a ceremony at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan, November 10, 1952. Imperial Household Agency of Japan/Handout/Kyodo/via REUTERS

Japan's Crown Prince Akihito is formally invested as crown prince during a ceremony at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan, November 10, 1952. Imperial Household Agency of Japan/Handout/Kyodo/via REUTERS

Japan's Crown Prince Akihito is formally invested as crown prince during a ceremony at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan, November 10, 1952. Imperial Household Agency of Japan/Handout/Kyodo/via REUTERS
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Crown Prince Akihito goes to his Gakushuin school in Tokyo, December 1945. Kyodo/via REUTERS

Crown Prince Akihito goes to his Gakushuin school in Tokyo, December 1945. Kyodo/via REUTERS

Crown Prince Akihito goes to his Gakushuin school in Tokyo, December 1945. Kyodo/via REUTERS
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Crown Prince Akihito, flanked by Emperor Hirohito and Empress Nagako, waves to well-wishers from the balcony of the Imperial Household Agency, a day after a ceremony that Akihito is formally invested as crown prince, in Tokyo, November 11, 1952. Kyodo/via REUTERS

Crown Prince Akihito, flanked by Emperor Hirohito and Empress Nagako, waves to well-wishers from the balcony of the Imperial Household Agency, a day after a ceremony that Akihito is formally invested as crown prince, in Tokyo, November 11, 1952....more

Crown Prince Akihito, flanked by Emperor Hirohito and Empress Nagako, waves to well-wishers from the balcony of the Imperial Household Agency, a day after a ceremony that Akihito is formally invested as crown prince, in Tokyo, November 11, 1952. Kyodo/via REUTERS
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Crown Prince Akihito and Crown Princess Michiko smile during their wedding parade in Tokyo, April 10, 1959. Kyodo/via REUTERS

Crown Prince Akihito and Crown Princess Michiko smile during their wedding parade in Tokyo, April 10, 1959. Kyodo/via REUTERS

Crown Prince Akihito and Crown Princess Michiko smile during their wedding parade in Tokyo, April 10, 1959. Kyodo/via REUTERS
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Well-wishers gather at the Imperial Palace as they celebrate and watch the wedding parade by Crown Prince Akihito and Crown Princess Michiko in Tokyo April 10, 1959. Kyodo/via REUTERS

Well-wishers gather at the Imperial Palace as they celebrate and watch the wedding parade by Crown Prince Akihito and Crown Princess Michiko in Tokyo April 10, 1959. Kyodo/via REUTERS

Well-wishers gather at the Imperial Palace as they celebrate and watch the wedding parade by Crown Prince Akihito and Crown Princess Michiko in Tokyo April 10, 1959. Kyodo/via REUTERS
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Crown Prince Akihito talks with Michiko Shoda as they enjoy tennis at Tokyo Lawn Tennis Club in Tokyo, December 6, 1958. Kyodo/via REUTERS

Crown Prince Akihito talks with Michiko Shoda as they enjoy tennis at Tokyo Lawn Tennis Club in Tokyo, December 6, 1958. Kyodo/via REUTERS

Crown Prince Akihito talks with Michiko Shoda as they enjoy tennis at Tokyo Lawn Tennis Club in Tokyo, December 6, 1958. Kyodo/via REUTERS
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Crown Prince Akihito arrives at Waterloo station for attending the coronation ceremony of Britain's Queen Elizabeth in London May 1953. Kyodo/via REUTERS

Crown Prince Akihito arrives at Waterloo station for attending the coronation ceremony of Britain's Queen Elizabeth in London May 1953. Kyodo/via REUTERS

Crown Prince Akihito arrives at Waterloo station for attending the coronation ceremony of Britain's Queen Elizabeth in London May 1953. Kyodo/via REUTERS
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Crown Prince Akihito and Crown Princess Michiko mourn the victims of the Battle of Okinawa at Himeyuri Peace Memorial monument in Itoman, on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa, Japan July 17, 1975. Kyodo/via REUTERS

Crown Prince Akihito and Crown Princess Michiko mourn the victims of the Battle of Okinawa at Himeyuri Peace Memorial monument in Itoman, on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa, Japan July 17, 1975. Kyodo/via REUTERS

Crown Prince Akihito and Crown Princess Michiko mourn the victims of the Battle of Okinawa at Himeyuri Peace Memorial monument in Itoman, on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa, Japan July 17, 1975. Kyodo/via REUTERS
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The coffin of Emperor Hirohito, father of Crown Prince Akihito, is carried during his funeral ceremony in Tokyo, February 24, 1989. Kyodo/via REUTERS

The coffin of Emperor Hirohito, father of Crown Prince Akihito, is carried during his funeral ceremony in Tokyo, February 24, 1989. Kyodo/via REUTERS

The coffin of Emperor Hirohito, father of Crown Prince Akihito, is carried during his funeral ceremony in Tokyo, February 24, 1989. Kyodo/via REUTERS
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Emperor Akihito pledges to observe the Constitution of Japan during the ceremonies marking his accession to Japan's Chrysanthemum Throne, November 12, 1990. Imperial Household Agency of Japan/Handout via Reuters

Emperor Akihito pledges to observe the Constitution of Japan during the ceremonies marking his accession to Japan's Chrysanthemum Throne, November 12, 1990. Imperial Household Agency of Japan/Handout via Reuters

Emperor Akihito pledges to observe the Constitution of Japan during the ceremonies marking his accession to Japan's Chrysanthemum Throne, November 12, 1990. Imperial Household Agency of Japan/Handout via Reuters
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Emperor Akihito is seen walking ahead of priests prior to ceremonies marking his accession to Japan's Chrysanthemum Throne, November 12, 1990. Imperial Household Agency of Japan/Handout via Reuters

Emperor Akihito is seen walking ahead of priests prior to ceremonies marking his accession to Japan's Chrysanthemum Throne, November 12, 1990. Imperial Household Agency of Japan/Handout via Reuters

Emperor Akihito is seen walking ahead of priests prior to ceremonies marking his accession to Japan's Chrysanthemum Throne, November 12, 1990. Imperial Household Agency of Japan/Handout via Reuters
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Britain's Princess Diana (L) kneels as she is received by Emperor Akihito of Japan and Empress Michiko, in traditional kimono wear, on arrival for tea at the Imperial Palace as she wraps up a tour of Japan February 8, 1995. REUTERS/Stringer

Britain's Princess Diana (L) kneels as she is received by Emperor Akihito of Japan and Empress Michiko, in traditional kimono wear, on arrival for tea at the Imperial Palace as she wraps up a tour of Japan February 8, 1995. REUTERS/Stringer

Britain's Princess Diana (L) kneels as she is received by Emperor Akihito of Japan and Empress Michiko, in traditional kimono wear, on arrival for tea at the Imperial Palace as she wraps up a tour of Japan February 8, 1995. REUTERS/Stringer
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Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (R) chats with Japanese Emperor Akihito before entering the State Banquet Hall at Buckingham Palace May 26, 1998. REUTERS/Stringer

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (R) chats with Japanese Emperor Akihito before entering the State Banquet Hall at Buckingham Palace May 26, 1998. REUTERS/Stringer

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (R) chats with Japanese Emperor Akihito before entering the State Banquet Hall at Buckingham Palace May 26, 1998. REUTERS/Stringer
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Emperor Akihito of Japan inspects the Guard of Honour of the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards with Britain's Duke of Edinburgh, May 26, 1998. REUTERS/Stringer

Emperor Akihito of Japan inspects the Guard of Honour of the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards with Britain's Duke of Edinburgh, May 26, 1998. REUTERS/Stringer

Emperor Akihito of Japan inspects the Guard of Honour of the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards with Britain's Duke of Edinburgh, May 26, 1998. REUTERS/Stringer
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U.S. President Barack Obama is greeted by Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko upon arrival at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo November 14, 2009. REUTERS/Jim Young

U.S. President Barack Obama is greeted by Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko upon arrival at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo November 14, 2009. REUTERS/Jim Young

U.S. President Barack Obama is greeted by Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko upon arrival at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo November 14, 2009. REUTERS/Jim Young
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Empress Michiko tries to get a bee out of the hair of Emperor Akihito during a tour at the Institute of Ocean Sciences in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, July 12, 2009. REUTERS/Todd Korol

Empress Michiko tries to get a bee out of the hair of Emperor Akihito during a tour at the Institute of Ocean Sciences in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, July 12, 2009. REUTERS/Todd Korol

Empress Michiko tries to get a bee out of the hair of Emperor Akihito during a tour at the Institute of Ocean Sciences in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, July 12, 2009. REUTERS/Todd Korol
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Emperor Akihito, Empress Michiko, Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako attend an autumn garden party at Akasaka Palace Imperial garden in Tokyo, November 9, 2018. Kazuhiro Nogi/Pool via REUTERS

Emperor Akihito, Empress Michiko, Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako attend an autumn garden party at Akasaka Palace Imperial garden in Tokyo, November 9, 2018. Kazuhiro Nogi/Pool via REUTERS

Emperor Akihito, Empress Michiko, Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako attend an autumn garden party at Akasaka Palace Imperial garden in Tokyo, November 9, 2018. Kazuhiro Nogi/Pool via REUTERS
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Emperor Akihito (R) and Empress Michiko bow in silent prayer at Banzai Cliff, or Puntan Sabaneta, to pay tribute to the Japanese soldiers and civilians who jumped off the rocky cliff 61 years earlier rather than surrender to U.S forces in the bloody World War Two Battle of Saipan in Saipan June 28, 2005. REUTERS/Eriko Sugita/U.S. POOL

Emperor Akihito (R) and Empress Michiko bow in silent prayer at Banzai Cliff, or Puntan Sabaneta, to pay tribute to the Japanese soldiers and civilians who jumped off the rocky cliff 61 years earlier rather than surrender to U.S forces in the bloody...more

Emperor Akihito (R) and Empress Michiko bow in silent prayer at Banzai Cliff, or Puntan Sabaneta, to pay tribute to the Japanese soldiers and civilians who jumped off the rocky cliff 61 years earlier rather than surrender to U.S forces in the bloody World War Two Battle of Saipan in Saipan June 28, 2005. REUTERS/Eriko Sugita/U.S. POOL
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Emperor Akihito (L) and Empress Michiko (2nd L) talk with evacuees from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, at Tokyo Budoh-kan, currently an evacuation shelter, in Tokyo March 30, 2011. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Emperor Akihito (L) and Empress Michiko (2nd L) talk with evacuees from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, at Tokyo Budoh-kan, currently an evacuation shelter, in Tokyo March 30, 2011. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Emperor Akihito (L) and Empress Michiko (2nd L) talk with evacuees from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, at Tokyo Budoh-kan, currently an evacuation shelter, in Tokyo March 30, 2011. REUTERS/Issei Kato
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Emperor Akihito, accompanied by Empress Michiko, gazes at the wreck left of buildings after an earthquake two weeks earlier, as a city official (R) explains during the monarch's tour to hard-hit disaster areas in Kobe January 31, 1995. REUTERS/Kimimasa Mayama

Emperor Akihito, accompanied by Empress Michiko, gazes at the wreck left of buildings after an earthquake two weeks earlier, as a city official (R) explains during the monarch's tour to hard-hit disaster areas in Kobe January 31, 1995....more

Emperor Akihito, accompanied by Empress Michiko, gazes at the wreck left of buildings after an earthquake two weeks earlier, as a city official (R) explains during the monarch's tour to hard-hit disaster areas in Kobe January 31, 1995. REUTERS/Kimimasa Mayama
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Emperor Akihito, flanked by Empress Michiko, looks at names of American soldiers who died in the Okinawa battles during World War Two on one of the stone monuments as he visits Okinawa Peace Memorial Park August 2, 1995. REUTERS/Susumu Toshiyuki

Emperor Akihito, flanked by Empress Michiko, looks at names of American soldiers who died in the Okinawa battles during World War Two on one of the stone monuments as he visits Okinawa Peace Memorial Park August 2, 1995. REUTERS/Susumu Toshiyuki

Emperor Akihito, flanked by Empress Michiko, looks at names of American soldiers who died in the Okinawa battles during World War Two on one of the stone monuments as he visits Okinawa Peace Memorial Park August 2, 1995. REUTERS/Susumu Toshiyuki
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Emperor Akihito waves to well-wishers gathered to celebrate his 81st birthday at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo December 23, 2014. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Emperor Akihito waves to well-wishers gathered to celebrate his 81st birthday at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo December 23, 2014. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Emperor Akihito waves to well-wishers gathered to celebrate his 81st birthday at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo December 23, 2014. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
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Emperor Akihito (2nd L) appears with Empress Michiko (R), Crown Prince Naruhito (L) and Crown Princess Masako to well-wishers gathered to celebrate the monarch's 77th birthday at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo December 23, 2010. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Emperor Akihito (2nd L) appears with Empress Michiko (R), Crown Prince Naruhito (L) and Crown Princess Masako to well-wishers gathered to celebrate the monarch's 77th birthday at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo December 23, 2010. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Emperor Akihito (2nd L) appears with Empress Michiko (R), Crown Prince Naruhito (L) and Crown Princess Masako to well-wishers gathered to celebrate the monarch's 77th birthday at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo December 23, 2010. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
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Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko stroll on a beach near their imperial villa in Hayama town, south of Tokyo, January 21, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko stroll on a beach near their imperial villa in Hayama town, south of Tokyo, January 21, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko stroll on a beach near their imperial villa in Hayama town, south of Tokyo, January 21, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato
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Emperor Akihito waves to well-wishers during a public appearance for New Year celebrations at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, January 2, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Emperor Akihito waves to well-wishers during a public appearance for New Year celebrations at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, January 2, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Emperor Akihito waves to well-wishers during a public appearance for New Year celebrations at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, January 2, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato
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